Electoral Control and the Human Capital of Politicians

37 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2013 Last revised: 24 Jul 2016

See all articles by Peter E. Buisseret

Peter E. Buisseret

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Carlo Prato

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: December 16, 2013

Abstract

Expertise and experience are frequently held to be universally desirable political attributes. But under what conditions can voters benefits from improvements in the human capital of their politicians? We address this question in a model of electoral control with two districts, built upon three premises. First, both human capital (quality) and effort are key inputs of a politician's performance. Second, ensuring that these inputs are employed to the service of constituents requires the provision of electoral incentives. Third, the reward to politicians from the pursuit of alternative activities to direct constituency service - in particular, pursuing the internal goals of a party or political faction - depends on the human capital and effort decisions of both legislators. Our main result is that an increase in the quality of either politician can worsen electoral control for both voters. As a consequence, voters may be better served by ``outsiders,'' or amateur candidates with lower levels of expertise and prior experience.

Keywords: Electoral Control, Competence, Political Representation, Multidistrict Elections

JEL Classification: D72, D78, D83

Suggested Citation

Buisseret, Peter E. and Prato, Carlo, Electoral Control and the Human Capital of Politicians (December 16, 2013). Games and Economic Behavior, Vol. 98, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2325694. or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2325694

Peter E. Buisseret

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Carlo Prato (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

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